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Dr Clodagh Harrington

Job: Associate Professor in American Politics

Faculty: Business and Law

School/department: Department of Politics & Public Policy

Address: The Gateway, De Montfort University, Leicester, UK, LE1 9BH

T: +44 (0)116 207 8785




Personal profile

Clodagh Harrington joined DMU in 2006 and is Associate Professor in American Politics. 

She is a member of the Political Studies Association, American Political Science Association and British Association for American Studies. She was chair of the (PSA) American Politics Group until 2018 and remains an active member. 

Her most recent (co-authored) publication is a monograph examining the impact of the Trump presidency on Barack Obama's legacy, published in autumn 2020. Clodagh is also involved in a number of collaborative writing projects relating to policy development in the Trump administration. In 2015 she was awarded a place on the DMU Future Research Leaders Programme, which offers institutional support for specific research projects. 

She received her MA (1996) and PhD (2006) from London Metropolitan University. Her academic background is in American politics and international relations and this is also her main teaching area. 

Clodagh is module leader on a number of undergraduate courses, including Unity and Diversity in Contemporary America and The American Presidency. She is also module leader for a MA International Relations module on US foreign policy. In addition, she is involved inpost-graduate and PhD supervision. 

Clodagh is a regular contributor on US politics matters to UK and international media, including the BBC World Serivce, News at One, UK and Irish radio stations, and various newspapers.

Research group affiliations

Publications and outputs 

  • Obama V Trump: The Politics of Rollback
    Obama V Trump: The Politics of Rollback Harrington, Clodagh; Waddan, Alex
  • Hip-Hop and Hope: Managing the Outlier Status of Barack Obama
    Hip-Hop and Hope: Managing the Outlier Status of Barack Obama Harrington, Clodagh
  • A Legacy Diminished: President Obama and the Courts
    A Legacy Diminished: President Obama and the Courts Harrington, Clodagh; Waddan, Alex Legacy Diminished: Obama and the Courts A central concern for any U.S. presidential administration is its relationship with the federal judiciary. For an administration, this relationship is potentially legacy making or breaking in two ways. First, what is the imprint that the administration leaves on the judiciary? Will a president have the opportunities and institutional capacity to change the political balance of the federal judiciary? Second, how will the judicial branch respond when the administration’s policy plans are, as many inevitably will be, challenged in the court system? Will the administration’s policy preferences be preserved and its agenda advanced, or will court decisions stymie important initiatives and restrict that agenda? This paper examines these questions with regard to the Obama administration’s record. The Obama era saw new levels of diversity in terms of judicial nominees and the courts did sometimes uphold key aspects of the Obama administration’s program to the chagrin of conservative opponents. Yet, the with the benefit of two years hindsight, the evidence suggests that the Obama administration’s legacy with regard to both the central questions addressed in the paper was a diminished one. The administration’s capacity to reorient the federal bench was thwarted by the legislative branch, notably obstruction in Senate, with the consequences of that frustration highlighted by the rapid actions taken by the Trump administration and Senate Republicans in 2017-18. Furthermore, on balance, the decisions made by the federal judiciary on matters of significant concern to the Obama White House weakened rather than strengthened the administration’s legacy. The Publisher's final version can be found by following the DOI link.. Open access article
  • Grab 'Em by the Legacy: Rolling Back the Years With President Trump
    Grab 'Em by the Legacy: Rolling Back the Years With President Trump Harrington, Clodagh Historically, Donald Trump’s position on women’s reproductive rights has not been particularly clear. Mindful of the social conservatives among his voting base, on the 2016 campaign trail he offered staunchly anti-abortion rhetoric, including a promise to appoint an like-minded Supreme Court judge to replace the late Antonin Scalia. Once in office, he immediately signed an Executive Order reinstating the Reagan-era ‘Global Gag’ rule on US funding of international NGOs who offered abortion service or counselling. This chapter will examine the current position of the US government regarding reproductive rights, specifically focusing on the level of unity between the president’s rhetoric, his party’s priorities, individual state legislation and the expectations of his voting base.
  • Healthy Hunger-Free Kids? The US School Lunch Revolution
    Healthy Hunger-Free Kids? The US School Lunch Revolution Harrington, Clodagh
  • Between rhetoric and reality: truth and the Republican oratory of Condoleezza Rice
    Between rhetoric and reality: truth and the Republican oratory of Condoleezza Rice Harrington, Clodagh This chapter focuses, through the Aristotelian lens, on the rhetorcial capacity and impact of Condoleezza Rice. Acting as National Security Advisor and later Secretary of State for President GW Bush, Rice made a number of key speeches which impacted significantly on the administration, on foreign policy and on the nation.
  • Introduction: Obama's Washington.
    Introduction: Obama's Washington. Harrington, Clodagh
  • Obama's Washington: Political Leadership in a Partisan Era
    Obama's Washington: Political Leadership in a Partisan Era Harrington, Clodagh This volume examines the array of challenges facing the Obama administration and the president himself. Topics range from how best to manage a ruptured economy to controlling the budget, the green agenda, foreign policy, and the recalibration of U.S. relations with Britain. It also includes sections on presidential leadership, elections,healthcare, and food poverty. The common theme throughout is the issue of governing in a fractured, unruly political environment, and the accompanying difficulties. Contributing scholars, based at academic institutions in the United States and the UK, offer a range of informed perspectives throughout this engaging work. Packed with detail yet highly accessible, this volume will appeal to those interested in American politics, history, and the political process.
  • The politics of food: sense and sustainability.
    The politics of food: sense and sustainability. Harrington, Clodagh
  • Obama's Washington: political leadership in a partisan era.
    Obama's Washington: political leadership in a partisan era. Harrington, Clodagh

Click here to view a full listing of Clodagh Harrington's publications and outputs.

Key research outputs

Obama V Trump: The Politics of Presidential Rollback Harrington, Clodagh; Waddan, Alex, Edinburgh University Press, (2020)

‘Hip-Hop and Hope: Managing the Outlier Status of Barack Obama’ in The Presidential Image, White, Mark and Morgan, Iwan, (eds), IB Tauris (2020) 

‘A Legacy Diminished: President Obama and the Courts,’ British Journal of American Legal Studies,’ Vol. 8, No. 3 (2019)

‘Grab ‘Em by the Legacy: Rolling Back the Years with President Trump,’ in, ‘The Trump Presidency: From Campaign Trail to World Stage,’ Oliva, Mara and Shanahan, Mark, Palgrave Macmillan, (2018)

‘Truth and the Republican Party: the Rhetorical Clout of Condoleezza Rice’ in Republican Orators from Eisenhower to Trump, Palgrave Macmillan, (2017)

The US School Lunch Revolution in Ashbee & Dumbrell (eds), 'The Obama Administration and the Politics of Change,' Palgrave Macmillan, 2016

Obama’s Washington: Political Leadership in a Partisan Era, Clodagh Harrington (ed) ISA, University of London (2015)

The Tea Party Movement, in Dumbrell, J (ed), Issues in American Politics (pub date 2013)

The Role of the Special Prosecutor, in Watergate Remembered: The Legacy for American Politics, (2012)

The Ethical Record of the Bush Presidency, in Morgan and Davies (eds), The Right Man? (2010)

Research interests/expertise

US domestic policy

US presidency 

Areas of teaching

American Presidency, American Government and Politics, American Foreign Policy


PhD London Metropolitan University (2006)

MA London Metropolitan University (1996)

BA (Hons) Modern History with Applied Psychology

Courses taught

POPP5023 Decision Points: the Domestic Context of US Foreign Policy

POPP3046 The American Presidency

POPP3000 Dissertations – various US related topics

POPP2005 Unity and Diversity in Contemporary America

Membership of external committees

Chair - American Politics Group (2015 - 2018)

Membership of professional associations and societies

Political Studies Association (2012)

American Politics Group (2002)

American Political Science Association (2006)

British Association of American Studies (2006)

Professional licences and certificates

Licence obtained, certifying institute, not commercially sensitive information 


Current research project is on rollback of Obama legacy by the Trump administration

Forthcoming events

DMU US Election watch 21.10.20

Congress to Campus – 09.11.20  – De Montfort University

American Politics Group annual (virtual) conference 07 – 09.01.21  - University of Leicester 

Conference attendance

Presidential Legacy in the Era of Obama and Trump, (Southern Political Science Association, Austin, Texas, 2019) 

Obama and the Courts: A Legacy Diminished, (American Politics Group, University of East Anglia, 2019)

Money, Mouth and Message: the Style and Substance of Policy Rollback, EAAS/BAAS, University of London, 2018)

Design, Circumstance, Ineptitude: How to Create and Undo a Presidential Legacy, American Politics Group, St Annes College, Oxford, 2018) 

Rolling Back the Years with President Trump (Clinton Institute, UCD, 2017)

100 Days of Donald Trump: Policy Pushback and Consequences (Reading University  2017)

The Politics of Food Policy: Battling for the Public Good (PSA, Manchester, 2017)

Steeling the Magnolia: Truth and the Republican Party, (APG, Leicester University, 2017)

Rice, Rhetoric and the Republican Party (Republican Orators Conference, University of Liverpool, 2016)

European Association of American Studies conference, 'Healthy Hunger-free Kids,' (University of Constanta, Romania, 2016)

'The US School Lunch Revolution', American Politics Group, Reading University, 2016, ‘Sense and Sustainability: The Politics of Food in C21 America’British Association of American Studies –2014. 

‘SNAP: The Sound of the US Food Chain Breaking’, Political Studies Association  –2014

Recent research outputs

Obama V Trump: The Politics of Presidential Rollback Harrington, Clodagh; Waddan, Alex, Edinburgh University Press, (2020)

e.g  ‘Outputs’ produced since January 2008 not yet included in DORA

Consultancy work

Oxford Analytica – consultancy work (2020) 

Oxford Encyclopedia of American History – consultancy work (2020) 

External examiner Northampton University (BA Politics) 2013 - 2017

Current research students

Adeniyi Oso, thesis supervision. US democracy promotion in 1990s Nigeria 

I am happy to offer PhD supervisions in a range of areas relating to American politics, including:

The modern American presidency, Presidential scandal, aspects of American foreign policy, American political parties, aspects of American social policy

Externally funded research grants information

Successful application for Institute for the Study of the Americas, University of London, conference grant  made in September 2012. Funding covered State of the Union (US Politics) conference in May 2013 and costs of resulting publication in 2014.  

Internally funded research project information

DMU Future Research Leader Programme awarded 2015

DMU Early Career Research Fellowship awarded 2013

Professional esteem indicators

External PhD examiner, University of Birmingham (2018), University of the West of Scotland (2017), Kings College, London (2016), University of Southern Denmark (2015)

Member of Digital Democracy Project chaired by Rt Hon John Bercow MP (2013 - )

Aurora Foundation Women in Leadership training completed 2014


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